If you’re looking for a new business to get underway, then you could much worse than taking your existing hobby and finding ways to make money from it! One of the best – and increasingly popular – hobby-cum-businesses is home furniture. Because this is an area where limited produced pieces are often more popular than mass-produced items, you’ll be on a more level playing field with other furniture companies than you would be in other industries. But that doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy: it isn’t! If you’re thinking of starting your own furniture company, then take a look at our tips below, and you’ll be increasing your chances of success.
Perfect Your Craft
There’s a big difference between someone who does something as a hobby and someone who does something professionally. Before you look at making a viable business from your home furnishings, make sure that you’re taking the time to perfect your craft. You’ll receive plenty of compliments from friends and family when you’re just getting going, but it’s a different matter when you start charging people for your creations. As such, you’ll want your furniture to be as perfect as possible! If that means delaying your launch date by a few months while you hit the appropriate standards, then so be it.
What’s Your Niche?
As you might have gathered, the furniture world is pretty big! And you’ll perform much better if you select a niche to work in. For example, you could focus on kitchen tables and chairs, or bedside cabinets, or coffee tables for the living room. You’re likely able to do everything, but as you’re getting started, it might be better to build your company around a specific set of furniture. You’ll also want to work on a particular style, too: are you rustic, modern, traditional, or something else?
What Do People Want?
But of course, what you’re good at making and what you like to make might not coincide with what people generally want. As such, before you sink too much money into your new venture, try to find out if there’s an audience for your creations. This is where your market research will come in handy. It’ll help to determine what people are looking for, how what you create meets that end, what to charge, and so on.
Having said that, it’s important that you’re putting your own spin on your creations too. You shouldn’t just give people what they want; if you do, you’ll end up playing it too safe, and if you’re going to succeed, then you need to have something different about your products! So develop your own style, and don’t be afraid to take chances. It’s not always about meeting everyone’s wishes; when it comes to artistic pursuits like furniture, there’s also an element of showing people where they might like to go, too.
Working From Home Or Renting
You’re going to need space to work, and that’s going to force you to make a tough decision: do you work from home, or rent a space? There are benefits to both. If you work from home, then you won’t be spending money that could be better spent elsewhere on rent. If you’re working from a rented space, you’ll have more space to work and store more of your creations. All weighed up, it’s probably a good idea to rent a space. This will allow you to make extra income by hosting workshops, and will also give you a more professional look, especially if you’re “store” is located in one of those hip industrial zones that are becoming increasingly popular in urban areas.
When you’re in the furniture game, your best friends are going to be antique markets. These are places to not only sell your creations, but to also buy pieces that you think you can improve upon. Take a long your best creations, and you’ll soon gain a reputation for offering top-quality goods.
Getting the Word Out
You probably looked at setting up a furniture company because word of mouth was helping to get the word out about your creations, and thus you decided to make a go of it full-time. However, when it comes to making a full-time business out of was once a hobby, you’ll need more than word of mouth. You’ll want to have a website and social media channels, and also work with a furniture marketing agency to draw more people to your online presence. Of course, referrals will also be a big part of your business, so try to come up with some sort of incentive package for your clients who direct future work your way.
Use The Best Materials
You might be able to make your furniture look good, but your reputation will quickly fall to pieces if, well, your furniture falls to pieces. As such, make sure you’re using the best materials for your creations. People have no shortage of options if they want cheap but poorly made furniture; they’ll come to you because they know it’s the best, and they’ll expect you to use good materials!
The Art of Presentation
If you’re going to sell your furniture online, then you’ll need to learn the art of taking a good photograph. Look at taking an introduction to photography course, or hiring other people to take professional photos of your products.
Also, don’t forget the power of building relationships! It’s much cheaper and easier to keep an existing customer on the hook rather than fish for a new one. Work with your clients, and make yourself available for custom pieces.
So far as businesses go, there are few as enjoyable, creative, and as easily accessible as selling furniture. If you have the passion to create things for their own sake (i.e. when it was a hobby), then you’ll have the necessary drive to turn it into a successful business..and especially if you incorporate our words of wisdom above.